Creativity in Early Childhood: How Do Fantasy Orientation and Self-Regulation Predict Creativity Across Contextually Distinct Measures?

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University of Alabama Libraries

Creativity is often considered to involve two processes: a generative process that includes forming multiple ideas and an evaluative process where one selects the highest-quality idea that was generated (Sowden, et al., 2015). Engaging in behaviors that naturally involve generative (e.g., imaginative play) and evaluative processes (e.g., self-regulation) may uncover how the development of these systems are involved in creative thought. It was predicted that children who had a preference for imaginative play (i.e., fantasy orientation; FO) and those who were high in self-regulation would produce the most creative ideas due to their experience engaging in both the generative and evaluative processes. Across two studies, this dissertation aimed to examine the interaction between fantasy orientation and self-regulation on creativity using two contextually distinct measures. In Study 1 creativity was evaluated using a story-stem laboratory task. In Study 2 a new observational measure was created: The Creativity in Play Scale. This measure evaluated children's natural creativity in their everyday self-selected play activities. Results of Study 1 suggested that the interaction between FO and self-regulation predicted creativity in a laboratory story stem task. Results of Study 2 suggested that assessing creativity through play is feasible and children high in FO had the highest creativity, but self-regulation and the interaction did not predict creativity using this task. This study extends upon previous research by creating a new measure of creativity that is developmentally appropriate for preschool aged children. It also informs creativity theory, providing a richer understanding of what variables contribute to the creative process in children.

Electronic Thesis or Dissertation
Creativity, Emotion Regulation, Executive Functioning, Fantasy Orientation, Pretend Play, Self-regulation